From 2nd grade to 4th I was enrolled in an after school program at the local YMCA. A large, white van, would be waiting out by the school buses for the 8 or so of us that were taken directly from elementary school to the funky smelling downtown Y. We were not rich kids. We were mostly kids of single mothers. Kids who would, in a matter of years, graduate into the fine world of the latch key generation. We were children, but we were quickly learning the ways of the world.
I learned most of my sexual education from the back of that white YMCA van. Not in a hands on sort of way, but in a shut up and listen sort of way. My friend Jodi and I weren’t cool enough to sit in the back of the van – the sacred temple of 6th graders. Instead we sat one row away, but close enough that we considered ourselves cool by proximity.
The 6th graders knew everything there was to know about sex. They would use their index fingers to draw grossly out of proportion male genitalia on the dirty back windows. They would flirt with whatever Y staff member was sent to fetch us. But mostly they talked.
I learned early on that maxi pads were for babies. That black bras meant that you wanted to have sex. I learned that a blow job was more than I had originally surmised. One of the conversations that has always stuck in my mind was a heated debate over who would be a better lover: Prince or Michael Jackson. The 6th graders were fiercely divided and so the 4th graders were allowed to chime in their thoughts.
Jodi voted for Michael saying that he had all the right moves, or something clever like that. Another 4th grader voiced her vote, although I can’t recall who it was for. But I was the tie breaker and I was terrified of saying the wrong thing. Within this gaping pause the leader of the 6th graders reached from the back row to my elbow, looked me dead in the eyes and purred, “Doesn’t Prince just make you wet?”
Honestly- I had no idea if being wet was a good thing or a bad thing. To me it sounded like a potential bad thing – I mean how mortifying to wet your pants! But there was something about the way it was asked that I just knew this was different. And so I concurred. At the ripe age of 9 (or was it 10?) I declared my love for Prince.
There is always, always, always the voice of that 6th grader that pops into my head whenever I see Prince. Which is why I found myself doing the unthinkable tonight as I watched the half time show with GM and Mother. As soon as the lights when out and the screaming started I proclaimed to no one in particular that Prince just makes me wet.
Luckily my Mother was oblivious and GM thought I was commenting about rain in Miami.